Title: Believe in Me
Characters: Greg Sanders and Nick Stokes
Relationships: Pre-Greg-Nick and Mentions of Nick/Kristy Hopkins
Content Warnings: Pre-Slash, Angst, Missing Scene, Ep Coda: CSI 01×13-Boom, Minor Character Death Mentioned, Canonical Character Death, Not Beta Read
Word Count: 2311
Notes: This is one of a handful of older fics that I am posting. This has been on various other sites online.
Summary: When Nick needs a port in a storm, he finds it in the most unlikely of places. Post Ep and Missing Scene for Boom.
Nick found himself wandering through the halls not paying attention to where he was going. His mind was focused on Ecklie and while his heart was heavy with the knowledge of what had happened to Kristy. She’d been irresistible even though he’d known that she was bad news for him and if he was honest with himself that knowledge had been a large part of the reason why she had been so irresistible. He wanted to save her. He wanted to be her hero, but his brain never let him forget that the chance of him having any real effect on her was just south of slim at least until the night before. The second she’d said she was considering a career change, logic and reasoning flew out the window. His hidden romantic streak went into overdrive and in his heart he wanted to believe that he’d had something to do with the huge step she said she was going to take.
He should have known better though.
When that cop had told him she was dead his heart had dropped to his stomach as a panic filled him that he couldn’t have even imagined just a few hours before. He’d though that being held at gunpoint was bad enough. Looking down the barrel of that gun believing that his live was going to be ending a lot sooner than he’d imagined had been the scariest thing he’d even imagined… ‘til now when he found himself not only with his job in jeopardy, but his very freedom. He could feel eyes on him and vaguely he was aware of whisperings. He didn’t need to listen to know that they all questioned his innocence and he knew he had put the doubt in his mind. He knew Catherine believed in him, but he wished she wasn’t the only one.
Feeling a hand on his arm Nick jumped before his mind pulled itself from the terrors swirling around in his head and allowed his eyes to focus on the man in front of him. “Come in, Nicky,” Greg said and Nick let himself be pulled into the DNA lab where Greg pushed him into a chair. “I’m sorry about Kristy man. I can’t imagine how much you must be hurtin’.”
Nick turned his head slightly as Greg knelt down next to him. His eyes holding nothing but compassion as his hand ran over Nick’s arm. They weren’t what Nick would call tight. In fact thus far Nick had barely been able to find the patience for the man who seemed more juvenile than the responsibility of his position in the lab should allow. However two months prior when he’d gotten back from the Hendler house and lost it in front of him and Warrick in the locker room, it was Greg who had listened and comforted him. The next day Greg had been the one that was able to look him in the eyes without the slightest hint that he was put off by Nick’s tears. “I swear, G, I didn’t do it.”
“Of course you didn’t,” Greg soothed frowning slightly as if the notion that he could be capable of such an act was ridiculous.
Nick found himself staring desperately into those eyes looking for any sign that the words were just that… words and not heartfelt sentiment, but all he saw in Greg’s eyes was honest confusion at the thought that someone could think he was guilt of such a thing. “Why… how can you believe in me? I… hell G half the time I ain’t even nice to you. How…” Nick struggled running his hands through his hair but found his face turned so that he was looking at Greg again.
“Nick, I’m not stupid and I know you don’t consider me one of your friends. I know I’m weird and while people like to think they progress beyond high school they don’t really. The pretty people always gravitate to each other and those of us that aren’t quite so attractive tend to be left on the outside looking in, but the thing is while the theory may not change the people do grow as human beings.
“Yeah sometimes you’re a dick to me, but sometimes I’m too juvenile and probably deserve it. It’s true that you’re one of the pretty people and I’m just the… kid on the outside who wishes he could be like you, but that doesn’t mean I hate you and it certainly doesn’t mean that I believe you could kill someone. You’re a good guy Nick. You care about people. All the things you’ve done for this Kristy person proves it. It’s your heart that got you into this position, but it’s the truth that will get you out. You gotta believe man. Ecklie is a jackass and while he may be determined to take you down for no other reason than because it will make Grissom look bad, you have friends here who aren’t gonna just sit by and watch him do it.
“Look I got some stuff to do, but hide here as long as you need. ‘Cause no one is gonna whisper about you in my lab.”
Nick did stay for several hours, but eventually wandered out saying he needed air and Greg just nodded watching sadly as he left. When Catherine wandered in later it was all Greg could do to keep his focus on whatever he had in front of him, even though he had no idea what he was doing for whom or why. When she asked him for Nick’s DNA he wanted to just hand it over, but he knew that breaking protocol wouldn’t help his… co-worker… friend… acquaintance… unrequited love of his sad little life. The second though that she said the case was hers that was all he needed to hear. He knew technically he should check, but the fact was he didn’t really care. When she’d left he had no idea why it was so important that the tails were missing from the sperm, but he hoped… prayed that it was something good.
Nick had wandered in and out of his lab throughout the night, hiding as he needed and Greg could only hope that he was giving him some comfort. He couldn’t help but keep Nick up-to-date on what was going on. He supposed that he should keep his mouth shut, but he couldn’t. He couldn’t leave the man so completely drowned in hopelessness and despair.
When Catherine came back with the sash Greg had made it his top priority and for once hadn’t minded someone hanging around while he was processing. When the match came he’d been ecstatic and had barely been able to resist throwing his arms around the woman.
Later after the long draining shift was finally over, Greg made his way through the lab and into the locker room long after the rest of the night shift should have been gone. However when he pushed the door open there was Nick sitting on the bench staring down at the floor, but Greg knew he wasn’t really seeing anything. “What are you doin here Nick? I thought you’d be out celebratin’ Warrick and Catherine or somethin’.”
Nick’s head lifted and Greg could still see his eyes were slightly shiny, the tears and the fear hadn’t quite gone away. Sighing Greg made his way over to sit next to Nick getting as close as he dared without invading the man’s space, because as he’d said before… they weren’t really friends no matter how much he wished they were and was pretty sure the man wouldn’t appreciate being crowded by the geeky little lab rat. “I heard that guy tried to get under your skin. Catherine came by after and told me you were… upset. Wha’d he say man?”
“She lied to me, man,” Nick half laughed and half cried. “She wasn’t getting out. She was going to college to recruit girls. How… how could she wanna do somethin like that G? What kind of person would…intentionally put someone through the hell they were already living themselves?”
Greg’s hands twisted together, the urge to rest his hand on Nick’s leg was almost unbearable. “Someone who’s so broken they can’t remember how broken they are. But, how do you know this? Because some fuckin’ pimp told you? He manipulates and mistreats people for a living man. You can’t take his word on this. The only person who knows the truth is Kristy, and since she can’t tell you any different than what she did… why let some scumbag ruin whatever was between you? He doesn’t deserve the power.”
Nick took a deep breath then once more looked at Greg in awe of this person beside him wondering how he had previously thought that he was too immature to deserve the respect his position demanded. Apparently he didn’t know the lab tech very well. He felt ashamed that he’d judged the man on his outward appearance and hadn’t taken the time to look deeper into the person beneath it. “I umm… I need to thank you Greg. You… I owe you big time man.”
“I just did my job Nick. Catherine was the one that figured it all out. All I did was process the evidence she brought me.” Greg argued softly dropping his eyes and shifting uncomfortably but found himself turned by strong hands until he was looking into Nick’s dark intense gaze.
“That isn’t what I meant, although I disagree with how you’re trying to minimalize your part in saving my ass. I meant… this… now… and before in your lab and… all night how you’ve hidden me and believed in me and encouraged me trying to keep me from giving into… Ecklie. I owe you more than I can repay you man. This is the second time now that you’ve been there for me. I know I didn’t thank you the first time but, I… I really appreciate how you listened and didn’t… look down on me after I lost it in the locker room when Mrs. Hendler held that gun on me. You gotta let me do something for you. Anything you want just say the word.”
Greg held his breath watching his hands as his fingers twisted together. “I know I’m supposed to like argue with you or something, but I…” Greg sighed bouncing a knee before getting up to pace back and forth in front of the bench. “Like I said man I know you’re one of those pretty, popular, everyone loves you people. I’m just the wanna be cool, but yet terribly geeky lab nerd, but it’d be nice if maybe… you know… I don’t expect to be Warrick or anything but… it would be nice if maybe we could… you know be friends? I mean, you know maybe if you wanna or if you don’t I understand.”
Nick stood smiling thankful he was going to be getting a chance to make up for his past mistakes. “You got it man. You and me are gonna be the best of buds from now on. No one messes with my Greggo after today.”
Greg grinned and pulled his stuff out of his locker watching as Nick finally got himself changed. “You wanna umm… eat or somethin’? I didn’t really get a chance or anything today and well…” Greg shrugged nervous again, but felt better when Nick nodded smiling easily.
“Sounds like a plan,” Nick shut his own locker and followed Greg out taking a deep breath once he’d walked through the doors out into the morning air. “Man I gotta tell you G, no more girls for me. I swear all they’ve ever given me is trouble. I’m stickin to guys from now on.” Greg blinked and stumbled not sure he’d heard right until Nick’s hands were on his arms righting him again. “Careful, G.”
Greg nodded and studied his new friend wondering if this was a test. There was surely no way Nick could know about him and even less of a chance this man could be gay. He’d never told anyone in the lab, but the longer he remained silent he noticed Nick started to look nervous and anxious. “So what you and Warrick gonna admit you got the hots for each other now then?” Greg finally asked trying to sound calm as he flashed a grin and was relieved then Nick relaxed grinning back at him. “Warrick? No way man he ain’t my type.”
Intrigued Greg hurried after Nick as his mind spun in a million different directions. “So what is your type then?” He asked trying to sound casual having to stop in the middle of the parking lot when Nick headed away from where his car was parked.
“Oh, you know,” Nick threw out casually over his shoulder. “I kinda like my men younger than me, smart, funny, maybe a little wacky since I can get too serious sometimes, and someone that will pull me out of my funk when it feels like the world has no goodness left. You know I haven’t dated a guy in awhile though. I don’t suppose you know anyone interested do you?”
Greg was pretty sure the grin would still be plastered on his face when he got back to the lab that night, but he didn’t care. Suddenly he found himself with not only a new friend but also the possibility of something more if he was patient. “This definitely could be the start of a beautiful friendship,” Greg said bouncing to his car not knowing he was being watched and listened to.
“If I’m really lucky a lot more than just that, G a whole lot more,” Nick whispered heading the rest of the way to his car wearing his own overblown smile.